So you're wondering what it is like to do our morning chores around the farm with a toddler. That's why you're here. Well hang on because here we go!
Let's start right from the beginning by saying that I am so blessed to be able to stay at home with Charlie while we work to expand our farm with hopes of it being a full time gig for both Levi and I. I've thrown in some pictures throughout the year of Charlie and I as we've grown into this together just for fun.
Our mornings start off with Charlie typically rising with the chickens as the saying goes. It's not often that I beat him out of bed anywhere from 5:30 - 6:30am. We have our breakfast, usher Levi off to work and make a plan for our day, which typically starts with farm chores.
Currently, we're housing our rams and feeder lambs in a small barn at our house. This includes filling water buckets, pushing up the rams hay, refilling the feeder lambs hay and giving the feeder lambs their mixed ration of corn and protein pellets. They're fed first because honestly, they're the first thing we come to. Dot, our very lovable barn cat, also gets fed here and I only mention it because as you've seen in the video it's as much of a chore to keep Charlie out of the cat food as it is to do all the other feeding.
Then we're off to the main farm to feed the market steers (boys) and heifers (girls) growing to provide beef for local families including ours. These steers aren't actually ours, we're feeding in the mornings for Levi's dad who is at work by 6:00am. We enjoy seeing them everyday though! Their feeding is much like the rams and lambs at our house, pushing up hay, checking waters and putting out the mixed ration of corn and protein pellets. We don't use the same rations for beef and lambs though because they grow at much different rates. Charlie is typically not a fan of feeding the market calves and I haven't quite figured out why yet. I have a few suspicions though, it could be the temptation of all the tractors at the main farm that he wants to drive or maybe he's a little intimidated of the size of the calves. He didn't seem to have a problem though this day! He does enjoy putting handfuls of corn or protein pellets into the feed bunk one at a time though and as long as it keeps him occupied, I'm not mad about it.
In the video, it's a balmy 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle of January. Since then the temperature is back to it's normal self and we have been breaking ice on water troughs so we check the big tanks that the mama cows and calves have access to between feeding the market calves and checking on the bred (pregnant) ewes.
When the market calves are taken care of we head back to Rocky Knob where the bred ewes are typically content in the new barn. At the moment we are only checking that the ewes have plenty of hay left in their feeder and have clean water. Since the video, we've begun adding shelled corn to their diet to help grow the lambs they're carrying in the last trimester of gestation. The ewes are eating on round bales that are lasting them 2 - 2.5 days before they need a new bale. On warm days, like in the video, Charlie LOVES to be at the new barn because he can play in his sand box. We set up a make shift sand box in the barn when we vaccinated all the ewes a week ago - check out the video here.
So on a typical day, we feed the rams and lambs at our house, the market calves at the main farm and the bred ewes at Rocky Knob with various ice busting adventures in between each if the weather demands. That will all change though a month from now when we're due to start lambing. As you saw in the pregnancy check video, we have 67 ewes that will be lambing starting February 20th continuing through March 31st and we're going to be busy. When lambing starts, we'll start our day at Rocky Knob then work backwards likely because we'll need to check for new lambs right away.
That's what it's like. There's lots of chasing, reminding Charlie not to stick his hands in cold water and no eating cat food in between the actual chores.... Some days it feels like herding cats
Having Charlie on the farm with me doesn't come without its difficulties though... It's really a double edged sword because this lifestyle is very rewarding yet extremely challenging all at the same time. For example, the joy I see on Charlie's face as he sits on a tractor and pretends to drive - I wish I could bottle that feeling for him later in life. On the other side, the worry and job of keeping him safe in a very hazardous environment for a toddler who doesn't understand anything yet is very hard. I wouldn't change our life for anything though.
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And as always, thanks for your support! We wouldn't still be farming and bringing you a long for the ride if we didn't have your support; it means so much to us.